Are you traveling to Papua New Guinea? Well, I bet you are an adventurer! Not many tourists choose PNG as their next holiday destination but let me tell you… my trip to Papua New Guinea was absolutely awesome.
Wondering what is the best way to stay connected on your trip to Papua New Guinea then you came to the right place. This is a complete guide for buying a sim card for Papua New Guinea with where to buy a sim card, up to date prices as per May 2023, my recommendation, the best 4G/5G network in Papua New Guinea, my experiences and even info about international and e-sim cards for Papua New Guinea.
As I am trying to travel to every country in the world and I am also passionated about helping other travelers you can already find more than 200 prepaid sim card guides on Traveltomtom from all over the world: Australia, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, New Zealand, Auckland, Solomon Islands, Singapore, Malaysia, Bangkok, Bali, Europe, London, UK, USA, New York, Asia and many more.
Traveltomtom recommends a Digicel AND a Vodafone sim card for Papua New Guinea. Two? Yes! It depends where you go. I will explain more about it below.
Are you on a trip around the world and traveling to more than one country on your journey then have a look into travel sim cards with worldwide coverage. Some of them are valid for 1 or 2 years. Check out my article with a comparison of the best international sim cards for traveling in 2023.
E-sim cards for Papua New Guinea
The easiest way to stay connected when traveling abroad in 2023 is an e-sim card. You order online, receive an email, follow the instructions and apply the settings and within a couple minutes you are all done. No more visiting a store or swapping sim cards.
However, there are not that many options for e-sim cards for Papua New Guinea.
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $9.5 USD
Click here to directly order this Papua New Guinea e-sim cards online or find more info in the link.
Another e-sim card deal for Papua New Guinea I could find online was the following:
- 6 GB data for 15 days = $39.90 USD
Click here to order this e-sim card for Papua New Guinea directly online.
Where to buy a sim card in Papua New Guinea
Port Moresby International Airport
The answer to that question is undoubtedly at Port Moresby International Airport on arrival. You haven’t even entered the country officially yet when you see the first advertisements from the mobile internet operators in Papua New Guinea. They are everywhere around the airport.
After you passed through immigration, collected your bag and walked through the customs baggage check you will arrive in a very small arrival hall.
On your right hand side there is a Digicel store and opposite on your left hand side there is a B Mobile store. This is the most convenient place to get connected in Papua New Guinea.
The stores are open for every incoming international flight and you will see that most tourists buy a sim card for Papua New Guinea right here.
Vision City Mega Mall in Port Moresby
In case you missed the opportunity to buy a sim card at Port Moresby International Airport then I recommend you to go to the Vision City Mega Mall in POM and visit either the Vodafone or the Digicel store.
In case you directly transfer to Mount Hagen and didn’t buy a sim card in Port Moresby yet, there is a very convenient place to buy a sim card for Papua in Mount Hagen at the Vodafone store at Tininga Hagen Central.
Why buying a sim card for Papua New Guinea
First of all to avoid high roaming costs. Don’t let your trip to Papua New Guinea be ruined by outrageous data roaming costs. Sometimes operators charge up to $3 USD for 1 MB. That means opening Instagram would cost you easily $100 USD.
Also keep in mind that overseas data plans are very expensive compared to local prepaid sim cards and that these plans reduce the data speed, mostly to 3G.
Buying a prepaid sim card in Papua New Guinea guarantees you the highest data speed possible and staying connected simply makes traveling so much more convenient.
Mobile internet operators in Papua New Guinea
Digicel and Vodafone are the two mobile internet providers in Papua New Guinea. Vodafone only recently took over B Mobile and therefore you will still see B Mobile advertising here and there, like on Port Moresby Airport where the store is still called B Mobile, but I am sure that will change soon.
Every new costumer needs to present his or her passport. A copy of your passport will be taken in the store and your Papua New Guinea sim card will be registered on your name and passport number. Per passport 1 prepaid sim card can be registered only.
In the store they will also take a face photo of you as part of the registration. This is not normal practice when buying a prepaid sim card around the world, but it happens in some countries in Africa too: Uganda, Kenya, etc.
Prices prepaid sim cards Papua New Guinea
Available data packages and prices for prepaid sim cards constantly change. Traveltomtom tries to keep the sim card articles as up to date as possible with the help of our readers and community. So please if you have updated info leave me a comment below or simply reach out to me on Instagram.
As of May 2023: $1 USD = 3.52 PKR and 1 PKR = $0.28 USD.
Although everywhere in the airport on arrival it says free sim card, register now, etc. Digicel charges 10 Kina for the registration. Then you can choose one of the many available prepaid sim card plans. They have daily, weekly and monthly packages. Here are some of the most common:
- 1.5 GB data for 3 days = 20 Kina
- 5 GB data for 3 days = 65 Kina
- 3 GB data for 7 days = 40 Kina
- 10 GB data for 7 days = 100 Kina
- 8 GB data for 30 days = 100 Kina
- 20 GB data for 30 days = 200 Kina
They also have a so called ‘Red Club’ offer, ask for it in the store.
In some cases you can get 30 GB data for 50 Kina, which is obviously by far the best prepaid data package of Digicel Papua New Guinea.
These are the speed dial numbers for Digicel prepaid sim card costumers.
‘Get your free sim card for Papua New Guinea now’ advertisement also does not apply to Vodafone/BMobile as they also charge 10 Kina for the registration of a new Papua New Guinea prepaid sim card.
At the airport in Port Moresby they sell the following prepaid sim cards for tourists:
- 2 GB data for 7 days = 12 Kina
- 5 GB data for 14 days = 30 Kina
- 10 GB data for 30 days = 55 Kina
- 20 GB data for 30 days = 110 Kina
- 30 GB data for 30 days = 150 Kina
However, in the Vodafone store in Mount Hagen I was able to buy a prepaid sim card for 2 Kina and could top up with one of the following data plans:
- 8 GB data for 7 days = 10 Kina
- 15 GB data for 14 days = 20 Kina
- 25 GB data for 30 days = 35 Kina
Best 4G/5G network in Papua New Guinea in 2023
Having a great network coverage around the country is vital information for when choosing the best prepaid sim card for Papua New Guinea. Therefore Traveltomtom compared the 4G/5G network coverage maps of Vodafone and Digicel.
Is there 5G in Papua New Guinea?
No, as of 2023 there is still no 5G network in Papua New Guinea available. In most cases when traveling in PNG you are already lucky to have a 4G signal and when there is an LTE connection that still doesn’t mean you actually have fast data. I experienced it first hand!
Keep in mind that Papua New Guinea is a developing country and that mobile internet is also in the developing stages.
3G/4G network coverage of Vodafone PNG
3G/4G network coverage of Digicel PNG
Although the above Papua New Guinea mobile internet coverage maps are not 100% accurate and there is very little data available, we can still see, however difficult, that Digicel has a stronger 3G/4G network around the country. Also according to most locals, Digicel has the best mobile data network in Papua New Guinea in 2023.
My experience buying a sim card in Papua New Guinea
Upon arrival at the airport in Port Moresby I asked local people to help me decide which sim card is the best for traveling in Papua New Guinea. Most people answered my question with Digicel and based on my research about the best 3G/4G network in Papua New Guinea I came to the same conclusion: Digicel has the better network coverage and therefore it was my first pick.
All 4 of us we bought a Digicel prepaid sim card at Port Moresby Airport. The first couple hours were a disaster as none of us were connected to 4G. We only had a 3G signal which was barely working. After contacting the Helpdesk for more than 1 hour through a live chat and pushing them to solve it immediately we finally got a 4G connection.
The data speed in Port Moresby was pretty good and without any problems we were able to use all social media apps, watching videos, etc. Uploading content was a little slower, but also worked pretty fine.
After Port Moresby we flew to Mount Hagen and although everyone was constantly connected to an LTE signal in and around Mount Hagen, the internet was barely working. Downloading and uploading in Mount Hagen with a Digicel sim card was pretty much useless. One day in Mount Hagen flew by until on the second day we coincidentally came across a Vodafone store opposite Kofi Kai, the best cafe in Mount Hagen, in the Tininga Hagen Central.
I went in and asked about buying a Vodafone prepaid sim card. The registration was 2 Kina ($0.50 USD) and a data package of 8 GB was another 10 Kina ($2.5 USD). I gave it a shot and guess what… 4G was working perfectly with Vodafone in Mount Hagen. When I told my friends everyone went to buy a Vodafone sim card in Mount Hagen and ditched Digicel for the remaining days in Mount Hagen.
Upon return in Port Moresby we all noticed immediately that the Vodafone data speed was slow and we decided to put our Digicel sim card back in our phones. It turned out a great switch as Digicel was much faster in Port Moresby.
Best prepaid sim card for Papua New Guinea in 2023
After comparing Vodafone and Digicel for the prepaid sim card packages and prices, the 3G/4G network and also including my experiences Traveltomtom comes to the following conclusions.
The Vodafone prepaid sim card deals give you much more value than the Digicel data plans. Same price, more data. That mostly is an indication that the Vodafone network is a little weaker and they compensate that by giving more data for the same price to attract costumers.
However, based on my own experiences the best sim card for Papua New Guinea comes down to where in the country you will be traveling to. In some areas Vodafone performs better than Digicel and in other areas it is the other way around.
That said if I have to give one of the sim cards the benefit of the doubt I would initially go for Digicel as they performed better in Port Moresby. Then when you visit a certain area and Digicel isn’t working that well, you can easily visit a store and buy a Vodafone sim card.
I am sure all the above tips for staying connected in Papua New Guinea were helpful for your upcoming trip. May you have any more questions then please leave me a comment below.
Curious what it looks like trying to visit every country in the world? Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow along. As of May 2023 I have visited more than 155 countries, so still a long way to go.
Enjoy your trip to Papua New Guinea!